Cardinals kick off minicamp without LBs Chandler Jones, Jordan Hicks

Jun 8, 2021, 3:30 PM | Updated: Jun 9, 2021, 7:39 am
Defensive end J.J. Watt (99) looks on during the Cardinals' first day of mandatory minicamp on Tues...
Defensive end J.J. Watt (99) looks on during the Cardinals' first day of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Cardinals got their first glimpse of offseason addition and wide receiver A.J. Green on the practice field during the first day of minicamp on Tuesday.

The same couldn’t be said for linebackers Chandler Jones and Jordan Hicks, who were not in attendance for the mandatory workout.

“Like we said last week, nothing new to report there,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday. “We’ve been in communication with both guys. We know the situation and I’ll leave that dialogue between us and nothing else to report on that.”

Kingsbury added he does not expect either to participate in this week’s minicamp.

Despite being absent from minicamp, Jones was present for the team’s media day on Monday.

He’s also up for a contract extension, and after coming off a season-ending biceps injury just a year prior, Jones could be making sure he’s up to full strength, while taking out any extra risk of injury ahead of training camp.

Hicks’ no-show on Tuesday was much more expected, given the team reportedly gave the veteran permission to search for another home through trade.

Kingsbury added to narrative last Wednesday following voluntary OTAs when the head coach said he expects rookie Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons to man starting inside linebacker duties. Hicks started all 16 games last season at inside linebacker.

As for one of the many that were in attendance Tuesday, Green has quickly left an impression on his head coach.

“He’s been really impressive, when you see him on the field, that type of size with that type of movement skills,” Kingsbury said. “Very conscientious player, he’s picking it up quickly, consummate professional. Couldn’t say enough good things about him. Really excited that he’s here. I think he brings a lot to that receiving room.”

Larry Fitzgerald’s absence felt at Cardinals minicamp

He may not technically be a Cardinal, but wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s absence didn’t go unnoticed during Day 1 of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday.

Especially for veterans like offensive tackle D.J. Humphries, who is witnessing an NFL first as he enters his sixth season in the desert.

“It’s definitely been weird not having him out there,” Humphries said Tuesday. “I’m still hanging onto hope. We haven’t heard anything yet, so I’m not losing any hope until I get a word. I want to hear it. … These are the first practices I’ve been at as a Cardinals when Larry or [Patrick Peterson] aren’t there. It’s definitely a lot different for me.”

The jury’s still out as to whether or not Fitzgerald returns to the Cardinals for an 18th season, heads elsewhere or hangs it up altogether.

As Kingsbury has put it recently, “There’s nothing new to report” on the wideout.

“That’s the No. 1 question I get asked everywhere I go,” Kingsbury said when asked about Fitzgerald. “It’s not, ‘How are y’all gonna be?’ It’s, ‘Have you talked Fitz into coming back?’

“I think that says a lot about what he means to this state, this area, this organization. … Any room that Larry Fitzgerald’s in, he’s going to make dramatically better, there’s no doubt.”


– Kingsbury on free-agent signing and cornerback Darqueze Dennard:

“Darqueze is a guy who our staff was really familiar with defensively, [defensive coordinator] Vance [Joseph] and those guys. Really liked him coming out of college, have followed him, have tracked him. Thought it was a really nice pickup to add to some of that depth in the DB room.”

– Kingsbury on J.J. Watt’s early impact as a Cardinal:

“With J.J., anywhere he goes in the building, things seem to intensify. And that’s what you’re looking for, whether he’s in the weight room working out or he’s doing a drill with some of those younger D-linemen. He lifts up the group and so it’s been impressive to see how he carries himself, the professional, whether he’s in meetings or in drills. It’s just next level.”

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Cardinals kick off minicamp without LBs Chandler Jones, Jordan Hicks